How we use Cookies

Fraud probe ends with no charges

A HIGH-profile probe into alleged postal voting fraud in June's Hyndburn Council elections has ended with nobody being charged.

A HIGH-profile probe into alleged postal voting fraud in June's Hyndburn Council elections has ended with nobody being charged.

The news came after Accrington's police chief and the council's managing director met to formulate a joint statement which concluded the eight-week investigation.

Council boss David Welsby said he was delighted "the integrity of the election has been confirmed" and stressed the joint investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing.

He said: "In all, there were around six cases where ballot papers may have been incorrectly returned but in each of these cases it would appear to be the result of confusion as opposed to any knowing attempt to skew the election."

The investigation was sparked after County Councillor Doreen Pollitt complained of irregularities in the way votes were collected in Accrington's Central ward.

Councillor Pollitt, election agent for Labour's ousted Sardar Ali, was joined weeks later by another complainant who gave evidence to the police probe.

The news came as a relief to new councillor, Tory Allah Dad, who triumphed in the election by 137 votes.

Councillor Dad fired a shot at the Labour opposition, saying the complaints were motivated by "sour grapes".

He added: "I am delighted with the outcome. We expected this result but I am a little upset about the people who complained. We live in a democratic country and people need to accept the result. This whole affair is a slap in the face for the community, because I won fair and square."

Councillor Dad, a father-of-six, continued: "It is clear for everybody now and I am happy to be moving on to serve the community, because mentally, the investigation has hindered my start to council business a bit."

Police chief, Inspector Julian Platt, said: "While we have found the odd anomaly, the evidence suggests that this is the result of simple misunderstandings or confusion on behalf of a few electors."

"I have talked through my findings with the council and we share the view that there would be no public interest served in pursuing this inquiry further."

"What we are absolutely clear about is that the few anomalies we found were not intentional and they would certainly not have changed the result of the election."

Mr Welsby applauded the response from Central ward voters. He said: "Residents in the area have been very co-operative with the checks and I know that both the police and council would like to thank everyone who has participated."

 

Journalists

Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Crime
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Reporter
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist